A Glorious Frill


Surprisingly, not all the frillies I find readily employ their deimatic display. In fact many do not frill up at all, and most of those who do display flee as soon as they see open skies. The photos I post of frillies with their frills out are of the boldest individuals. They are those who stand their ground as soon as I plop them back where I found them. Curiously, size doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve had an incredibly diverse set of personalities from 100 gram juveniles that hiss and fly at me at every opportunity, 300 gram females that flicker the frill wildly, to 700 gram males that only give me a compelling stare. Some frillies turn their heads sideways to try bite my nose, others tail whip loudly and repetitively, and others undulate their bodies like they are dancing the samba. It will be interesting to examine associations between color, morphology, and behavior — the very aspects that make these dragons so fun to work with — and looking back through folders and folders of frilly data, I can easily remember almost every individual. This female was stunning in that not only was she in the top tier of defensiveness, but she had a near perfect frill with only a single missing scale near the bottom right of the frill. Shortly after I took this photo she jumped on my knee, relaxed her frill somewhat in a seemingly satisfied manner, and disappeared into the shoulder-high grasses.

Caught with appropriate permits for scientific study; photographed when released [5]

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